Casino revenues continue to make gains

Largest tax haul for the state since Feb. 2020

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

AFTER POSTING THEIR best month since before the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the casinos and slots parlor in Massachusetts reported similarly positive revenue figures for the month of April, generating the largest monthly state tax haul since February 2020.

The slots parlor at Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor jointly generated $84.63 million in gross gaming revenue last month, about $673,000 million more than in March. That yielded just more than $24.16 million in taxes and fees for the state, the Gaming Commission announced Monday. The state’s share from April is more than it has collected from its three gaming licensees since February 2020, when gaming generated more than $24.32 million for the state’s coffers during the last month without COVID-19 restrictions.

Gamblers put $169.68 million into the machines at the Plainville slots parlor last month, more than any month since June 2019. The house kept 7.38 percent of all slot wagers, resulting in about $12.52 million in gross monthly revenue, the highest total for Plainridge since July 2019. That revenue, taxed at a rate of 49 percent, generated more than $6.13 million in taxes and fees for state government.

At MGM Springfield, the amount of money wagered in its slots took a step back from the record set in March and totaled almost $204.1 million in April. The house kept 8.65 percent of that for about $17.65 million in slot revenue. Combined with more than $4.28 million in table game revenue, the western Massachusetts casino reported more than $21.93 in gross gaming revenue last month.

The state’s two resort casinos are subject to a 25 percent tax on their monthly gross gaming revenue. The $21.93 million in revenue that MGM counted last month works out to about $5.48 million in state taxes.

Encore Boston Harbor once again generated more than half of the state’s gross gaming revenue in April — $50.18 million, more than any month since February 2020. Just shy of $29 million of Encore’s gross gaming revenue last month came from its slots, which players put more than $336.1 million into. Table games accounted for about $21.19 million of Encore’s April gaming revenue.

The Everett casino yielded nearly $12.55 million in tax revenue for the state in April.

Since legalizing gambling in 2011, Massachusetts has collected more than $767.21 million in gaming revenues — about $420.39 million from Plainridge Park, almost $141.87 million from MGM and about $204.95 million from Encore Boston Harbor.

Based on historic monthly averages, Massachusetts can expect about $252 million in average annual gaming revenue.

The Executive Office of Administration and Finance said last month that the fiscal 2021 budget projects that the state will collect $226.2 million from the casinos and slots parlor for the budget year that ends June 30.

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Gambling halls have been open for nine-and-a-half of the 10 months of fiscal 2021 and the state has so far collected about $184.87 million. If the remaining two months of gaming revenue for the state come in at exactly the historic monthly average of about $21 million in taxes and fees, the state would be on track to collect $226.87 million in gaming revenue this fiscal year.

The state’s slots parlor and two casinos have been operating since July under Gaming Commission rules that cap occupancy (currently at no more than 40 percent), require masks, limit which games are offered and more. Though the governor has announced a plan to lift all remaining business restrictions by May 29, the Gaming Commission will have to act on its own to effectuate changes for its licensees.

Earlier this month, when the governor’s target for a full reopening was still Aug. 1, Gaming Commission officials said Executive Director Karen Wells was working with the commission’s restart working group to begin preparing recommendations that commissioners could consider and vote on at future commission meetings.